Summary: First came the leading touch. Next the anointing touch. Then the healing touch. Sermon focuses on healing, God's soverigenty, unanswered prayers.
On May 27th, I fell and injured my shoulder at an exercise facility due to sunscreen being sprayed by children on the floor. The next day I could not lift my arm above my head or to my side without excruciating pain. After taking x-rays and meeting with an orthopedic doctor, the decision was that I had a torn rotator cuff. An MRI was performed on June 3rd and a consultation took place on the 5th. It was determined that two of my tendons had been torn and was now located on the other side of my shoulder. Surgery would be required in order to attempt to reattach the tendons with no guarantee of success.
To complicate matters, as I was leaving the doctor’s office the insurance company representing the facility where the injury had occurred called. They decided they were not liable and would only offer a $5000 settlement meaning anything over that amount I would be accountable to pay.
As you may recall when I fell and injured my shoulder I stood on God’s word found in James 5:14 “Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.”
From the scripture I discovered in order to expect a healing we must take the first steps. In the past, I have called those who were sick to come forth to be anointed but the scripture clearly states that the sick should come to me and ask to be anointed. When we read of the encounter between Bartimaeus, who was blind, and Jesus it seems a bit strange. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked.
“My rabbi,” the blind man said, “I want to see!”(Mark 10: 51)
His need was obvious. It just needed to be verbalized. Therefore, on Sunday I asked to be anointed with oil and prayed over for a healing touch.
As the week went by, I saw no improvement. We went on our cruise and had a great time. We put the worries behind us and just found some time of refreshing. We really had a week worry free.
When we arrived home, a letter was waiting for us. It was from the surgeon informing me that I would need to pay $1100 for a pre-surgery payment. I did not have that money. I must admit desperation had settled in.
I had already done the one thing you do not want to do when you have a medical condition. I had gone on the internet. Horror stories abound. Cost of rotator cuff surgery, $25 to $50 thousand dollars. Recovery time, 7 months to a year. Unable to sleep in the bed. Full recovery rate, low. Dangers of less use, more pain, even frozen shoulder leading to complete loss of use of arm. My prayers intensified.
Monday, my condition was no better. I was thinking Monday night about how last Tuesday I was enjoying a cruise and next Tuesday I would be cut on with, who knows what kind of results. This week would be my middle of the road week.
But Tuesday morning I got out of bed. My shoulder felt different. Slowly I raised my arm over my head with no pain. I put my arm out to my side with just a twinge of pain remaining. I rotated my arm pain free. I now have about 90% use of my arm and a pain level of about one, which is good for my age.
So I ask myself this question “Why me?” Why did Jesus decide to touch me and to heal me? I thought it would be a good subject for a sermon, so I began researching in God’s word.
Healing spreads the Gospel
“And then he told them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.’”
Through out the Gospel we see the excitement that people shared when they were healed. Even though Jesus told many not to tell anyone about their healings, their excitement could not be contained. It was through his miracles that his fame grew.